Call of Duty 4: Larger burden on Sony PS3 than Xbox 360
Games like Call of Duty 4 run at a framerate of 60 frames per second on both systems. But Call of Duty 4 is a game that experienced technical problems with various bottlenecks due to the varying levels of action that occur on the screen. The game was originally designed to run at 60 frames per second at 720p, but it caused drops in the framerate.
The proof of this is the fact that Call of Duty 4 runs at a resolution of only 640p on both the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. This may be "equal" in terms of what is displayed on the screen, but the FACT is that Call of Duty 4 is putting a much larger burden on the PS3 than it is the Xbox 360.
Confirmation of this can be seen in the large number of games that "run smoothly at 60 frames per second on the Xbox 360, but struggle to run at 30 frames per second on the Playstation 3." That was a quote from Gamespot.
It's simple math: The Xbox 360 can display approximately 500,000,000 polygons per second, compared to 275,000,000 polygons per second for the Playstation 3.
Multi-platform games use what is called a "Lowest Common Denominator" form of programming.
Basically, what this means is the developers start out by saying to themselves, "We need to develop a game for the Xbox 360 and the Playstation 3."
Then, the developers put limits on how many polygons they are going to put on the screen, and they determine what framerate the game will run at as a result of that number.
When the developers multiply the number of polygons displayed on the screen by the number of frames being displayed each second, they examine what that number is. Multi-platform games can NEVER display more than 275,000,000 polygons per second, or else they can't be released for the Playstation 3, since the PS3 cannot display more than 275,000,000 polygons per second.
As a result, developers are often conservative with the number of polygons being displayed with multi-platform games, especially with the poor reputation of inconsistent framerates that the Playstation 3 has acquired over time.
It basically comes down to these THREE factors: If a multi-platform game running at 30 frames per second on the Playstation 3 uses 250,000,000 polygons or less, it gives the developers the ability to allow the Xbox 360 version to run at 60 frames per second, since 500,000,000 is double the number of 250,000,000.
If a multi-platform game running at 30 frames per second on the Playstation 3 uses over 250,000,000 polygons per second, it means the Xbox 360 version is also forced to run at only 30 frames per second. This is an unfortunate situation, because it means the Playstation 3 will be using 90-100% of its power by displaying somewhere between 250,000,000 to 275,000,000 polygons per second, while the Xbox 360 will only be using 60% of its power, since the Xbox 360 has so much more polygon power.
If a multi-platform game is intended to run at 60 frames per second on the Playstation 3, the Xbox 360 version will also run at 60 frames per second. The Playstation 3 version will be limited to 275,000,000 polygons per second. The Xbox 360 will also be limited to 275,000,000 polygons per second, due to the fact that 275,000,000 is the Lowest Common Denominator.
This is unfortunate, because it means the Playstation 3 version will be using between 90% to 100% of the systems power, while the Xbox 360 will be using only 60% of the systems power. Call of Duty 4 is an excellent example of this situation.
The Playstation 3 only transfers data at a rate of 54MB per second as a Blu-ray player being used for movies. When it comes to gaming, there are hardware "bottlenecks" that the Playstation 3 faces, which allows the PS3 to transfer data at a rate of only 9MB per second. The Xbox 360 transfers data at a rate of 16MB per second.
The Official Playstation Magazine wrote an article about the longer load times of PS3 games shortly after the Playstation 3 was launched. The only time the PS3 does not have to deal with either noticeably or significantly longer load times is when the game is placed on the PS3 hard drive. Sadly, it often takes over TWENTY long minutes to write the game onto the PS3 hard drive. Even when a PS3 game is written onto a hard drive, the load times between Xbox 360 games and PS3 games is virtually identical, as we saw in Devil May Cry 4 and Grand Theft Auto 4.
Gamespot has conducted a Graphics Comparison between the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 each year since the Playstation 3 has been available. Xbox 360 has been declared the winner of the Graphics Comparison each of the three years: 2006, 2007, 2008.
2008 shows that the gap in performance continues to get bigger, in favor of the Xbox 360. Here is the hyperlink that shows the newest comparison-one the Xbox 360 easily defeats the Playstation.
Also, the Xbox 360 uses 10MB of eDRAM. This new form of RAM technology is something that even Windows Vista-based PCs do not yet take advantage of. The next release of Direct-X on the PC will start to take advantage of eDRAM technology for gaming, but it still hasn't happened yet.
This just goes to show you how incredibly far ahead of its time the Xbox 360 Unified-Shader GPU/Multi-Core CPU design is.